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Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs)

As well as offering a website for individual users to search and download selected records, IPNI now also acts as an LSID server, allowing the resolution of specially formatted IPNI LSIDs automatically into RDF format metadata which can be used by other services such as GBIF and incorporated into other systems.

What is an LSID?

A typical IPNI LSID looks like this:

urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:1234-1

The urn indicates that it is a Uniform Resource Name - an identifier that is unique and which won't be used to refer to anything else. The lsid identifies the kind of urn it is - in this case an LSID or Life Science IDentifer. The ipni.org is the domain (in this case IPNI - other name lsids have different domains; for example Index Fungorum LSIDs are in the format urn:lsid:indexfungorum.org:names:nnnnnn). The names indicates that this is an LSID of an IPNI name - rather than an author or a publication - and the final part is the ID itself.

Read more about persistent identifiers here. Also see the TDWG GUID & LSID applicability statement. For more technical information see the LSID Sourceforge site and the LSID specification.

How can I use LSIDs?

LSIDs are designed to be automatically machine resolvable. In order to resolve them in your browser you will need to have the LaunchPad Plugin (available from the LSID Sourceforge site) set up in your browser. This will automatically go to the correct server (IPNI or IndexFungorum or whatever) for the particular LSID you wish to resolve.

If you already have or plan to use IPNI IDs in your own database or website you may want to switch to using LSIDs instead. The conversion is simple - just put 'urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:' in front of the IDs you have to transform them into an LSID. To make it automatically resolvable via launchpad then you will need to put 'lsidres:' in front of the 'urn'. Using LSIDs instead of url encoded links means you don't need to keep updating your links everytime we change our URLs for accessing our database.

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